This is a cross post by Terry Glavin
One of the most vile and decrepit slave states on earth is teetering. As I write this, thousands of Libyans are joining the uprising against the Gaddafi regime. They are now pouring into the streets of Tripoli. The people have seized Benghazi and several other eastern towns. The regime continues to slaughter civilians, using mercenaries and helicopter gunships. Libyan diplomats are jumping ship. The tyrant’s annointed heirs are vowing to fight to the last bullet. The free world stands by and watches.
The Libyan people have had to put up with more than 40 years of Pyongyang-On-The-Mediterranean, and yet it wasonly three days ago that the British government ordered UK gun firms to stop providing the Libyan regime with “security equipment” – the delicate English euphemism for massacre gear. Equally useless and just as delicate: Human Rights Watch.
Since the advent of digital technologies (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, email and even cell phones for mercy’s sake) the Human Rights Watch role in these kinds of tumults has been reduced to providing body-count services that are no more reliable than what Reuters provides. Not two years ago, Sarah Leah Whitson, the Human Rights Watch director for North Africa, was gushing and bubbling about the Libyan regime: What a lovely and liberal despotism the Gaddafis are making! Now, HRW is cluttering up the newswire traffic about Libya with finger-wagging and sanctimonious hectoring of the world’s democracies.
What would Human Rights Watch have the free world do? Why, join with teetering and decrepit police-states to wag its fingers and hector the Gaddafis – no, je m’excuse, merely urge them – to “stop the unlawful killing of protesters.” Is there some “lawful” kind of citizen-butchering that Human Rights Watch would prefer?
The democracies dutifully comply, and so we all remain equally useless in our sanctimony. We are doing absolutely nothing to ease the sufferings of the Libyan people or to give them the slightest hope in their hour of greatest and most desperate need. In a typical example, here’s Canada’s foreign minister, Lawrence Cannon, wagging his big finger: “We call on the Libyan government to respect the rights of freedom of expression and assembly and to engage in peaceful dialogue with its people to address legitimate concerns.”
Atta boy, Larry, that’ll learn ’em. The Gaddafi tyranny, hearing exactly what it had hoped to hear, helpfully complies, offering “peaceful dialogue” while wagging its own finger at the Libyan masses struggling under the Gaddafis’ jackboots. Saif Gaddafi, heir to Moammar’s vast Libyan estate, is now hectoring his own people to lie still and take their beatings like the slaves they are. After all, Libya is “not Tunisia or Egypt,” as though Libyans need a geography lesson about their own country. Why should they lie still? Because their impudence is risking the Gaddafis’ massive and steady income stream from oil: this time, indeed it is all about oil.
Like Human Rights Watch, Bloomberg is equally useless in all this because you can read for yourself what the crackpot Saif Gaddafi had to say for himself, word for word, thanks to Tweetdeck. Of course he wants “dialogue.” What does he have to offer? Read it yourself. “We will have a new Libya, new flag, new anthem!” Behave yourself, he tells Libyans, or “you will wait in line for months for a visa.” A visa? What’s that?
Saif’s “statement” is the gibberish-vomit of a paranoid lunatic. After 40 years of state terror and savagery, why should Libyans want to hear any words from him that are not spoken as his last, from the gallows?
I’m not being naiive here. I fully appreciate the concern for “stability,” but the lesson of history is loud and clear: If we leave Mr. Turner to fight this on his own, Southampton County will respond with lynch mobs and savagery, and many will die, slave and free. After four decades of the lash to their backs, the slaves of Libya have at last turned to face their master. Those of us who are free are expected to be satisfied with the comfort that our own ministers and diplomats may join with human rights agencies and tyrants to stand around and wag their fingers at one another.
I know of no argument or evidence of any kind that would support the proposition that free people should be content with this. So I am stuck with simple questions. Here’s one:
Alan A adds:
Isn’t it about time that the LSE gave back the £1.5m it received last year from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation (headed by Saif).
More on this as the story develops.